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Poly Prep terrific in Aviator tourney

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While St. Francis Prep of Queens captured the first Aviator Sports Holiday Tournament, the best performance turned in by a Brooklyn school was Poly Prep in a field of eight very talented highs school teams from New York City. Poly Prep of Bay Ridge wound up in third place. Basketball at its best with some premier teams and players, alike, from the public and private schools proved to be a tremendous success for four sessions in four days-evenings during a time when the college and professional hoop sport was contested elsewhere. Even though Poly Prep finished third defeating New Utrecht, 59-54, in the first game, losing badly to St. Francis Prep, 64-35, in the semi-finals, and turning back St. Edmund’s, 56-51, in the consolation encounter for third place, the coaching staff and athletes found the tournament a success. They felt that playing in a State-of-the-Art large facility near Flatbush Avenue and the Marine Parkway Bridge was a big boost to their program, as they head into league competition. And most of the schools feel the same way. Justin Newton, a 6’1” guard, who scored 26 points against St. Edmund’s in the consolation game, earned a spot on the six-player all-tournament team. “Newton played very well and is very strong,” St. Edmund’s first year Head Coach Dan Wiatre said. “He made a lot of clutch shots in the fourth quarter. At the same time, we had too many break downs at the wrong time….Plus, I give Poly Prep some credit to their win. “Playing here was a good experience. Our boys played in front of their family and friends. Hopefully, it’ll get us ready for the rest of the season, and we’ll do damage in our division (of the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association).” In the third place game, Poly saw action without its star player Billy Butler, who was out sick, getting over the flu. “The kids played hard after a tough defeat in the semi-finals,” assistant coach Glenn MacCartney said. “Because of Butler’s absence we changed the offense a little bit and got bye without him. The kids did fine.” “We had a good win (after losing the previous night to St. Francis Prep),” Newton said. “We kept our heads in the game (against St. Edmund’s). Every time they rallied we fought back.” For example, after St. Edmund’s cut a deficit down to three points, 42-39, Newton answered with a basket from the key and a free throw, and a three-pointer by Matt Figueroa. “Playing at Aviator is different for us because the court is bigger,” Newton added. “We had to get used to playing here. Other than that, it’s tough. Finishing third was a little disappointing because coming into the tournament our goal was to win the whole thing. Teammate Ryan Hyland really enjoyed playing at the Aviator Sports Complex. “We played in a great atmosphere,” Hyland said. “We had a good crowd. And it’s very exciting when the crowd ‘gets into it (the action). The tournament was fun.” Last year Hyland and his teammates played on the same squad that competed in the Msgr. King tournament at St. Thomas Aquinas. At Aviator, the floor isn’t slippery whereas at St. Thomas it was slippery and was not suitable for such a tournament. “Here at Aviator I can stand on my feet a little more,” Hyland added. Against St. Edmund’s, Poly Prep put together a well-balanced attack even with Butler home sick. Everybody did their part. The boys did a good job as a team. “Defense, hard work, and determination keeps us in every game,” MacCartney summed up. Now we have our IVY league schedule.” Poly’s main goal is to keep winning and advance upstate to Glens Falls for the State tournament in March. Meanwhile, St. Francis Prep routed Frederick Douglas Academy of Manhattan, 62-39, for the championship, Tilden edged St. John’s Prep of Queens, 53-52, and Amityville turned back New Utrecht, 64-49, in consolation games. “Coming into the tournament we were in a slump and then we lost all three games,” offered New Utrecht reserve junior Dave Lopez , who started on the Junior Varsity last year and has to work his way into a starting role on the varsity. “We gave 100 percent and just couldn’t come out on top. Once we get back to our league games (in the Public Schools Athletic League), we’ll go on a winning streak.” “Unfortunat­ely, we didn’t win, but we had a lot of fun,” New Utrecht coach John Sce said. “The experience was certainly good for us.” Playing without Jamal Ward who was out sick, Tilden had to come from 16-2 down to pull it out, and did it with less than a minute left. “We got great contributions from a lot of players,” Coach ‘Rock’ Eisenberg said. “Now we have to win league (PSAL) games to get into the playoffs. We are playing better in every phase of the game.” “We all love to be in this tournament every year.” “I like playing at Aviator,” added junior Ashton Pascal, who converted the winning free throw. “I had fun playing before a lot people.” Pascal earned a berth on the all-tournament squad. Overall, the fans were treated to some good basketball at the newly-built Aviator Sports Complex. There is talk that the committee is considering to make the tournament bigger and better for next year.”

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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